Thursday, March 12, 2009

Game On

Thanks in advance to everyone who visited last week for Fatherhood Friday, and to everyone visiting this week!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a blog about youth soccer.

That said, today's topic: youth soccer.

(I can't help it. It's just too funny. I promise to write about something else next week. Unless I don't.)

As you may remember from last week's adventures of soccer coach Busy-Dad-E, we left Big Brother's team of 3 and 4 year-olds at their first practice.

Perhaps we should've stayed there.

Fast foward to Thursday night and our first game.

I won't reveal the final score, but let me tell you that when I was a kid, my team lost EVERY sporting event that my dad ever videoed.

I'll just say that Busy-Mom-E videoed the game, and some things apparently run in families.

All 6 players on the team were excited about the game, except for 1) Big Brother, who was hungry, 2) Athletic Girl, who was tired and wanted to sit on her mom's lap, 3) Little Girl, who did not want to play but also preferred to sit on her mom's lap, 4) Big Brother's friend, who wanted to see his dad, who showed up at the game before going to work, 5) Boy #1, and 6) Boy #2, both of whom preferred to sit IN the goal.

Their excitement was apparently a testament to my coaching prowess.

Okay, so in an effort to keep the kids relatively "corralled" on the field, somebody at the YMCA thought it would be wise to line one end of the field (our goal) with about five, big, fence-like nets. The only problem was that it made the entire end of our field look like one BIG goal.

I mean, that wouldn't confuse 3 and 4 year-olds.

Of course, they were a little confused to begin with about which direction to go with the ball.

That is, IF anyone felt like kicking the ball or running after it.

Good standing around, everyone! Good standing! (We're supposed to be positive with them at this age.)

Picture it: we're playing 3 on 3. We kick the ball out of bounds. The other team gets the ball. They start to play again. Suddenly, Athletic Girl has returned to mom's lap, Big Brother has sat down to pick some weeds, and all of our other players have disappeared.

Now we're playing 3 on 0. I'm grabbing any child with a red shirt, including Little Brother, to put them IN to play.

At other times, we're playing 4 or 5 on 3, and I'm grabbing any child to take them OUT of play. Moms? Dads? Anyone related to anyone on our team, can you throw me a bone here? I don't multitask well (coach, cheer, and make substitutions while carrying around someone else's child)--I'm not a woman.

Meanwhile, the other team has a RINGER. I mean this kid couldn't have been more than 2 feet tall, but he could dribble down the field like a hot knife through butter. He lit us up for a hat trick. I wanted to ask the other coach to see his birth certificate, in the hopes that he was too YOUNG to play in our league.

We did manage to kick the ball into the other team's half of the field, more than once, I think.

We finally make it to halftime. I'm exhausted already. Please note that exactly TWELVE minutes have passed since the start of the game (two 5-minute quarters and a 2-minute "break").

We try to regroup. The operative word here is TRY.

At halftime, we find out that we were using the WRONG sized goals. Our youth-sized goals (maybe 5 x 3.5 feet) are replaced with "baby"-sized goals the size of my laundry hamper.

Thanks. We were doing good to kick the ball NEAR the "big" goals. It'll be much easier now that the goal is 4 times smaller.
Don't worry kids, we're still building self-confidence here, even if there is now less of a soccer goal to build it with.

The second half goes much like the first. I'm amazed at how fast our players dribble and move once they go OUT of bounds. Seriously. Apparently the lines on the field are holding us back.

We do manage to score 1 goal...for the other team.

At the end of the game, the coaches try to get the teams to form a line to shake hands. This was quite amusing to observe. You'd think we asked the kids to teach each other how to speak German.

We huddle up after the game. To my surprise, we NAIL our team cheer, I mean LOUD and in unison! It was great.

And at that moment, any dark clouds that were forming in my mind lifted. The kids had fun and got some exercise. The weather was beautiful. The parents cheered and laughed. They're learning about teamwork and sportsmanship, and they're doing pretty good with that. They look ridiculously cute in their uniforms. I laughed and smiled.

Everyone was a winner just by being there.

I feel very lucky and blessed to be a dad. It was a good day.

Happy Fatherhood Friday,
Have a good weekend,

P.S. Coming on Monday, the first of a new series of posts: "Big Brother Explains"

That's right, we'll turn to Busy-Dad-E's favorite 4 year-old for "how-to" and "where'd-that-come-from" advice. From fishing to babies, he'll cover it all. I'm not promising it'll be pretty (or pretty accurate), but it will be, as is my writing about fatherhood: uncensored.


  1. LMAO!

    I'm game for having every FF be about soccer if they are all this funny. You're one heck of a storyteller. :)

  2. Wow. I may hit you up for some advice in a few years on some pointers to not laugh constantly while in those types of situations.

  3. I can't even picture 3 and 4 year olds playing soccer. I mean, my daughter is 3 and I'm lucky if she can get her boogies blown on the kleenex instead of me.

    I used to ref 5 year olds playing, and it was hilarious to watch them try to figure the whole thing out. We had soft walls all around the "field" so the ball NEVER went out of bounds. Most of the time I spent just pointing the kids in the right direction.

  4. This reminds me of my oldest's coach pitch basebal last spring. All the kids were looking at the clouds the entire season.

  5. I love this! I love how the one thing that definitely got all night was the team cheer! Hey...they sure have some team spirit! I'm with Isabella, it would be fine with me if we get a soccer story every Friday!-Aunt-E

  6. Brilliant. I could picture the kids disappearing and reappearing on the field, pulling weeds, etc.

    My baby girl's gonna be a strong kicker for sure. I'll start training today. ;)

  7. This is freak'in hilarious! Keep them coming..

  8. lol. love it. IM glad everyone had a blast

  9. Another great soccer story. While I am not a soccer fan I can certainly relate to your stories about kids and sports. Once again you show you have the perfect temperment to coach.

  10. Wow, all of that sounds like torture.

    I am going to hide the fliers they send out for soccer from my kid or tell her some messed up story like I had a twin who died in a tragic soccer accident. . .

  11. LOL! This was so funny. Thanks for sharing. And yes, I can't agree more with another reader, you do have the perfect temperament to be coach. Good Job!

  12. You can write about soccer all you want to! These posts are hysterical.

  13. good grief...i didn't realize they were 3 or 4 yr olds. i coached 5-7 yr olds for teeball softball. what a hot mess lol right now you're giving them the fundamentals & that's all that should matter right now. the competitiveness and scoring will come later.

  14. Ahhh, youth Soccer, something we visited last night for the first practice of the year! New league, new faces, new stories!
    Coming to you live from the Land of the Soccer Mom!

  15. That is a spectacle to behold. All the kids just stand around or look at the sky, soccer being the last thing on their minds. Even funnier when there's like 10 parents on the field trying to focus everyone on the ball.

  16. Funny post again this week! I like that you continued the story line from last week's practice story. One of my favorite stories is about my sister who, at 5 years old, got herself tangled in the net while she was bored playing goalie!